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By Jove! It's Ken Dodd!

Posted on Monday 14th October 2013
Ken Dodd looking in a dressing room mirror and laughing

© Stephen Shakeshaft / Liverpool Echo and Post

Photographs of Ken Dodd at Museum are a real laughing matter

The Museum of Liverpool is set to open a new photographic exhibition this November, celebrating the life of a comedy legend.

By Jove! It’s Ken Dodd! Photographs by Stephen Shakeshaft will open on 8 November 2013 until 21 April 2014, capturing the man behind the performer through the lens of an award-winning Liverpool photographer who has been snapping the ‘Squire of Knotty Ash’ for over 50 years.

Beginning his career at the Liverpool Daily Post & Echo in 1962, one of Stephen Shakeshaft’s earliest assignments was to photograph ‘Doddy’. A friendship blossomed between the pair, and a bond of mutual respect and trust has allowed Stephen to become an intimate observer of Ken Dodd’s career.

Displaying photographs that are candid, poignant, affectionate and amusing – many taken from the wings during performances – this exhibition will feature just some of the shots Stephen’s taken over the years of Liverpool’s best-loved entertainer doing what he does best.

Curator Paul Gallagher said: “As Picture Editor of the Liverpool Daily Post & Echo, Stephen has been taking photographs of local icons throughout his career, but having seen the honesty and warmth captured in his shots of Ken, it’s quite clear they have developed a particularly special relationship, that has enabled Stephen to portray a rarely-seen side of Ken Dodd.

“His personal archive of images showing Ken as both the entertainer and the man is absolutely fantastic. As a curator, it’s been a gift to have so many images to work with. The only difficult part has been choosing which photographs could make it into the exhibition, as sadly we don’t have space to display the hundreds that Stephen has of Ken.”

The exhibition will feature around 50 images of Ken Dodd taken by Stephen Shakeshaft over five decades, in a variety of locations and situations. Whether it be relaxing in the dressing room with a pint, clowning around with some young fans or hanging out with his best mate Dickie Mint, Stephen has been there for a great many moments in Ken Dodd’s career, and this exhibition features some of the highlights.

Stephen said: “Ken Dodd is an icon for many in terms of comedic talent and Liverpool pride. I have been lucky enough to photograph the man himself on stage, back stage and at the many events he has attended over the years where he has put smiles on people’s faces with his unwavering Scouse wit and charm.

“This exhibition is not just about how people see Ken Dodd as a comedian but what he is like when he’s preparing for a show and what he’s like on stage from a more intimate perspective in the wings.

“I look forward to seeing the reactions of visitors to the exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool, and hope it will spread a bit of the ‘happiness’ that Ken so effortlessly prescribes to all who watch him and have been lucky enough to meet him, including myself.”

www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/kendodd|

Notes to editors:

Museum of Liverpool

The Museum of Liverpool is the country’s most visited museum outside of London. It is the largest newly-built national museum in Britain for more than a century, demonstrating Liverpool’s unique contribution to the world.

The first national museum devoted to the history of a regional city, it showcases popular culture while tackling social, historical and contemporary issues. It has attracted more than two million visitors since opening in July 2011. The prestigious Council of Europe Museum Prize for 2013 was awarded to the Museum for its commitment to human rights as well as its work with children and families from all backgrounds.

The Museum has received generous support from several major funders, and grants from trusts and foundations, corporate support and individual donations. Major funders include the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS),Garfield Weston Foundation and the Clore Duffield Foundation.

The Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) was responsible for the sustainable economic development and regeneration of England’s Northwest and had five key priorities: Business, Skills and Education, People and Jobs, Infrastructure and Quality of Life.

The European Development Fund (ERDF) is making a real difference to people and businesses in the North West. With €755 million to invest between 2007 and 2013, ERDF is enhancing the competitiveness of the region’s economy by supporting growth in enterprise and employment. ERDF in the North West is managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government – for further information visit www.communities.gov.uk/erdf|.

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage.  HLF has supported more than 30,000 projects allocating £4.5billion across the UK.  www.hlf.org.uk| 

About National Museums Liverpool

National Museums Liverpool comprises eight venues, including some of the most visited museums in England outside of London. Our collections are among the most important and varied in Europe and contain everything from Impressionist paintings and rare beetles to a lifejacket from the Titanic. We attract more than 3 million visitors every year. Our venues are the Museum of Liverpool,  World Museum, the Walker Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum, Border Force National Museum, Sudley House and the Lady Lever Art Gallery.